Benton Harbor leaders working to combat summer violence
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- It’s a well-known trend; with summer comes an uptick in violence, but Benton Harbor leaders are working hard now at preventing the trend on their streets.
“We think that it’s our job to try to get creative with ideas to be able to combat issues that face our community,” says Benton Harbor Chief of Police, Dan McGinnis.
Chief McGinnis is calling it a holistic approach to stop gun violence this summer.
“Not just throwing police at it, not just throwing arrests and traffic stops, but having community members involved, churches involved, stakeholders and organizations involved to work together,” Chief McGinnis explains.
In order to work towards that goal, public safety officers of both Benton Township and Benton Harbor are joining forces for another summer, unifying the 49022 to proactively police.
“Benton Harbor, Benton Township, although they’re two separate jurisdictions, they’re one in spirit,” says Chief McGinnis.
The goal is to get the youth and the community of Benton Harbor out into its streets, but in a good way that will inspire change
“Last year, every time that we met and prayed, there would be a large gap between incidents,” Chief McGinnis points out.
Through programs like Operation Safe Space, the Incident Response Team, and the Benton Harbor Prayer Alliance, Benton Harbor residents have a positive place to turn to.
However, Chief McGinnis cannot stress enough that the number one way to prevent violence is by speaking up.
“Protect your community, protect your children, protect your family, protect your neighbors, then we can turn this thing around,” Chief McGinnis urges.
Those programs and more will be starting up soon and they’re looking for community members to join them for the summer!
On May 25th, there will be a Prayer Meeting at Greater Grace Temple.
On May 27th, Operation Safe Space will launch in multiple apartment complexes around Benton Harbor.
On May 29th, there will be a Citizen March, “Remembering Victims of Gun Violence”.